Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Truth About NYE December 31, 2014

Fancy dinners and parties and dresses and champagne. All of it is so beyond me if I’m being honest. Yet that’s what so many people will be embracing from all over the world today and tonight as we ring in the new year. There is all kinds of anticipation for this big night of refreshment and renewal and you’d probably think it’s something your resident doggie optimist would stand behind. You’d be wrong.

I actually would venture to say that this New Year’s Eve holiday is probably one of my very least favorite of those my beloved forever family chooses to celebrate. I never mind the leftover goodies from dinner (which they usually opt to make themselves at home). I definitely appreciate the extra hour or two of snuggles that happens as we all countdown to midnight. But ultimately I feel a bit like the day itself is entirely overrated.

That all changed a year ago. Dear baby Carter was born exactly a year ago today, on New Year’s Eve. I still don’t understand why I couldn’t have been there at the hospital to meet him right away, but that’s okay. I honestly had no idea the joy he would bring into our home. Into our lives.When You Wish

Beyond that, I realized as I reflected back on this year that is 2014, that he’s taught me some things about life. Perhaps most important on this eve of the new year is what he helped me figure out about this holiday. It happened every morning he woke up since the very first day he was here in our home. Rebirth. Renewal. Not every day was a good one, but that is exactly what tomorrow is for. A fresh start. A new beginning.

I think that’s what bothers me so much about this holiday. It’s not one day a year we should be celebrating life. It’s every day. Every day we wake is a blessing that should never go unnoticed. Even the challenging ones and the ones that make us wish we could go to sleep just so it can be tomorrow. Because tomorrow is indeed another day. New Year’s Day in our case. Here’s to a year filled with new beginnings.

 

The F Word

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 4:33 pm

Finding the silver lining in all things spooky.

Wiley's Wisdom

Brisk walks around the tree-lined streets of the neighborhood. Snuggling on mom’s lap while she and dad sip pumpkin spice lattes by the bonfire in the backyard. Snagging the occasional apple slice that makes its way onto the kitchen floor while mom bakes one of her apple pies on a lazy Sunday afternoon. These are the fall moments to embrace. Haunted houses, spooky corn mazes and scary movies filled with blood, guts and gore? Not so much.

I can’t personally understand why anyone would ever purposely subject themselves to any of these fear-inducing fall traditions. But then again, I have my reasons. As one who has lived on the receiving side of abuse (both physical and verbal), I am here to testify fear is truly its own four-letter word.

And that’s coming from a four-legged mind that generally doesn’t process swear words. Dogs don’t swear. Sure, we have our…

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Like A Rocking Chair December 30, 2014

No news is good news. That’s what I heard them say to my forever mom yesterday when we stopped at my doggie doctor’s office. The wait was over to have a second test done to confirm (or deny) whether I was sick. Yet that’s when the real waiting game began.

It was 11:03 a.m. when we left the Family Pet Clinic. I know because I saw mom note the time. Before we left, they told her we would have an answer in 24 to 36 hours if the news wasn’t good. I thought for sure when they said that it would be the longest 24 to 36 hours of my life. In reality, I think it was at least in the higher ranks for my dear forever mom, who did nothing but worry the entire time. Counting Blessings

Not only that, but she disregarded what the ladies told her about no news. As soon as the clock struck 11:03 a.m. this morning, you’d better believe she called the office to find out if there was any news. And there was.

I am not sick. Everything is fine. Yes, I have a slightly elevated white blood cell count (whatever that is), but I’m going to be okay. Now don’t we all feel a bit silly for worrying so much?

It reminds me a bit of something I heard my mom’s dear friend Mel say about a completely unrelated topic yesterday afternoon. She quoted the words of New Zealand athlete Glenn Turner, who once suggested that “worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but gets you nowhere.”

So maybe mom and I and whoever else she worried with her concern (as I’ve found it to be contagious) didn’t get anywhere the last few days. But that’s okay.

Because this afternoon as the warmth of the sun bore down on me in my favorite spot in Carter’s room as I watched mom and Carter rock quietly, I let it in. All of it. The warmth. The love. The life of it all. I can’t help but feel a bit like I’ve gotten yet another lease on life, and it’s not one I intend to waste one ounce of worry over.

 

To Save The Day

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 3:43 pm

Moral of the story: we all need our sleep.

Wiley's Wisdom

It was 3 a.m. And it was kind of like that moment when you wake up from a really bad dream you’re convinced is real only to breathe a sigh of relief when you look around and realize it wasn’t. Except I didn’t wake up. I was already awake. And it was really happening.

Joy to the RescueMom was crying. Sobbing, really. For no reason in particular other than the unique combination of pregnancy hormones and the exhaustion that follows four sleepless nights in a row. If I didn’t know better, I’d thought my new little person had somehow been born and was having a full out temper tantrum in the middle of the night. That’s kind of what it sounded like. And nothing rips at my heart more than when my people cry.

It’s a foreign concept to me, this whole not being able to sleep thing. Let’s be honest – I…

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All Over Again December 29, 2014

Everything about it felt a bit like deja vu to me. There was cooking and dancing and silliness and it all reminded me of something I’ve seen dozens of times before. It’s just been a while.

For some time now mom does the cooking. Or dad. But it rarely happens that they cook together like they did tonight. It was nothing fancy either. Just a pretty standard sampling of spaghetti with semi-homemade meat sauce, peas and garlic bread. The music in the background was a throwback to a few years ago too, including some old favorites by “Coldplay.” As they cooked, dear baby Carter happily feasted on a pear. And I watched, as I do, as joy from the ground up came to life in my kitchen.Good Life

This is not to say there is anything wrong with the present. There is a lot to celebrate about even the relatively mundane things about daily life in my forever home. But sometimes there’s nothing like a glimpse of the past to bring the present into focus.

Paying homage to where we came from can have that effect, I’ve found. Though anyone’s past might be marred with negatives, finding the positives to embrace can make all the difference in living joy in your daily life. There’s plenty about my past I could let haunt me, but I choose to celebrate the happy things instead. Family Time Please

Like the feeling of deja vu I had today. It was in moment when mom and dad danced around the kitchen without even meaning to as they teamed up to make the perfectly seasoned pasta sauce. It was in the moment when One Republic’s “Good Life” came on the music player and they reminisced about the time mom caught dad swinging Carter around the living room to the lyrics a few months ago. It was in the kiss they thought no one saw.

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it,” suggested transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The past is not a place I’d like to live, but it certainly serves a purpose as far as I’m concerned. Because really it’s what we do with it that matters.

 

Don’t Let Me Go

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 10:56 am

No one ever said it would be easy.

Wiley's Wisdom

Life. No one ever said it would be easy. Quite the opposite in fact. Life is tough. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t really lived. And big or small, it doesn’t matter. Some troubles can seem insurmountable regardless of their size.

The LightI remember one of mine like it was yesterday. It was the day my first adoptive parents took me back to the Oshkosh Humane Society. I was showered with love from all the shelter workers (especially Katie, my friend who always had a few extra treats in her pocket with my name on them). Even a few of the other dogs were clearly happy to see me. But I wouldn’t have it. I was at the lowest of the low with no optimistic neighbor pal like Rusty to dig me out of the darkness this time.

In these moments of darkness, the light can seem so far away. But…

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The Best Kind of Way December 28, 2014

A year ago today I had absolutely no idea what I had in store. I was going about my business keeping mom’s spot on the bed warm as she wrapped a couple of last-minute Christmas gifts for an after-Christmas holiday party. Everything about the scene was as I’ve seen it dozens of times: her traditional Christmas movies played in the background as she sampled from a tray of goodies she only lets herself eat once a year while she wraps presents.

But this time something was different. At nine months pregnant, it was an issue for her to walk comfortably, let alone wrap an attractive present. I was getting frustrated even watching it happening, but she stayed calm. She took her time and ended up wrapping those two presents just as beautifully as the first round she’d completed days ago. So what if it took her an hour? Dad was out running errands. All said and done, it was a pretty typical day.

Hi Carter

Hi Carter

What happened a few days later when they brought home dear baby Carter for the first time was life changing. I knew it would be, but I don’t think anything could really have prepared me to the extent to which everything I knew in life would change. From the daily (and for those first few months nightly) routine I’d come to appreciate to the constant effort that is baby-proofing to the presence of this new little person, my forever home would never be the same.

I remember being a bit resentful after the initial excitement wore off. As much as my instincts told me to protect this tiny screaming bundle of “joy,” I couldn’t help but notice how much time and attention dear baby Carter was taking away from me. So I kept my distance and slowly re-integrated myself into a comfortable rhythm in this new life.

I thought I might regret that decision, but now I realize it was the smartest thing I could have done. It allowed me to do one of the things I do best – observe. I listened as Carter’s cries morphed into various forms of happy babbling and have since started to resemble words and sentences. I watched as rolling turned into crawling. I stood by as walking turned into running.

And I’ve learned so much. Life has changed a ton since that quiet moment with my mom all of those months ago. Through all of it, I’ve learned about perseverance and how to survive the ultimate form of sleep deprivation. I’ve learned the value of relationships as I’ve seen almost all of those in my circle come closer together. I’ve learned what it means to adapt and be flexible and understand that sometimes there are days that things just don’t get done.

That is why I can say with confidence this year has indeed been life-changing in the best kind of way.

 

A (Sun)day In The Life

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 2:41 pm

Just another lazy Sunday.

Wiley's Wisdom

There is simply no excuse for me. I have no good reason for not attending the Out of the Darkness Paws for Prevention walk as promised today. Granted, it would have been tough to do without my driver (aka mom) deciding to go. Which she didn’t.

Instead I was incredibly lazy. Let’s be honest – my days are generally fairly laid back. But today I felt particularly lazy as my people hustled and bustled all over the house. The windows were open to let the beautiful fall air in and dad worked on something stinky in the baby’s room. That paint stuff is for the dogs. I don’t like it.

So I stayed close to mom in the kitchen. Boy, she was busy in there today. First, it smelled spicy with what I heard her call chili. Then the meaty goodness mixed with a sweetness she called apple pumpkin soup…

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Hurry Up and Wait December 27, 2014

No news is good news, or so they say. Mom even said so this morning when she mentioned to dad she hadn’t heard anything from the doggie doctor about the blood test they did earlier this week. Usually if you don’t hear anything, everything is fine.

Until you do hear something. And it’s not good news. It happened to us a mere three hours after mom breathed a proverbial sigh of relief over not hearing anything. The phone call. Something about white blood cells being slightly higher than they should be and how they would like to do another test to find out if its really something to worry about.I will live

No need for the test as far as worry is concerned. I’m worried. Mom’s worried. It’s a whole bunch of anxiety and nerves around here, and there is a whole lot of nothing we can do about it until they run more tests on Monday. It could be bad. Very, very bad. Or it could be nothing. But right now none of that matters because I will admit it. I’m scared.

Mom must know it too, since she showed me (even) more love than usual all day. Dad and dear baby Carter even got involved, which was nice while oddly at the same time not all that comforting.

It brings to mind the whole idea of preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. I’m an optimist. I shouldn’t be afraid or think about the worst case scenario because I have joy in my heart. I’ve come to understand this joy is like an antidote to most forms of negativity, and yet I’m finding it hard to contest this sense of fear I have. While there are exceptions, I think the fear of the unknown is a living thing that can consume us if we let it.

If we let it.

The ancient Roman poet Persius once suggested “we consume our tomorrows fretting about our yesterdays.” I’d rather be present in today.

I know in my heart I have the power not to let this get to me. I can let it in and feel it, but it doesn’t have to take over my life for the next few days, weeks or years. I won’t let it. I will stand and fight whatever it is with my beloved forever family by my side. I will live.

 

Come Away With Me

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 5:36 pm

Two of my favorite people words together: “Wiley, up.”

Wiley's Wisdom

I’m no Mozart or Picasso, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a thing of beauty.

I see art when I step out the back door into one of my favorite places. Some would call it a backyard. I call it paradise. There are squirrels to chase, trees to lounge under, and (perhaps best of all) it’s all mine.

And it doesn’t matter where I am in the house – it is music to my ears when my treat jar gets opened. That, or a treat bag, or the bag with my rawhides in it. Or the door where my people keep my leash. Forget Canon in D. I’ll take the sound that signifies impending adventure over that piano music any day.Come Away With Me

Until today. Today music and art combined into it’s own fabulous kind of symphony I will forever hold dear to my little doggie heart.

It began as it…

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